While I am glad that Becky Lockhart supports educational spending, I am surprised that conservative Lockhart advocates a high-cost state-run program and disappointed that she, like many, seems to think technology is the key to improving education.
As the Tribune article “Gauging engagement” states, using technology in classrooms brings mixed results. While Lockhart’s plan addresses the problem of inadequate teacher training, it invites other challenges of implementation, because the plan is top-down.
Most legislators are not educational experts and, even if they were, what works for one teacher may not work for another. Instead of earmarking $300 million for digital education, let’s give schools the money and let them decide how to use it. If the Legislature is intent on funding technology, it can expand current technology grant programs. By awarding grants to schools with specific plans for using technology, they can ensure that the money is well-spent.
Technology can be a great teaching and learning resource, but technology can’t replace human interaction. The countries in which students score highest on international tests tend to have low-tech classrooms, but well-trained, highly respected teachers. The real solution to our educational woes is attracting, training, supporting and retaining effective teachers.